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Old South Church wants $19 million to mitigate effects of development’s shadows

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Too much, builder says

A group of tall buildings with a pedestrian plaza in the foreground. Pelli Clarke Pelli/Boston Properties

Old South Church, one of Boston’s more historic houses of worship, wants $19 million from developer Boston Properties to mitigate what the church says will be the effects of the shadows that three proposed towers on and around Back Bay Station will cast.

The money wouldn’t be all for the 142-year-old church on Copley Square—just $4 million of it, for repairs and to deal with potential moisture damage and the possible darkening of stained-glass windows.

The rest, per the Globe’s Tim Logan, would go toward seeding a city effort to make buying a home in Boston that much less herculean.

Boston Properties, for its part, is having none of it—it says the amount that Old South Church wants is way out of proportion to any effects its development might have. (The 1.26 million-square-foot project, with residences and offices, would include one tower stretching to 364 feet.)

As it stands, the Boston Planning and Development Agency has postponed an October 12 decision on the Back Bay Station project while the developer and the church continue to negotiate.

The whole thing, of course, sounds familiar: Shadow concerns have been dogging other major Boston development proposals of late, most notably the plans to replace the Winthrop Square Garage with what would be one of New England’s tallest buildings.

What do you think? How much, if anything, to make shadow concerns disappear?